What are those key elements for the perfect definition of O2O (Online to offline)? 1) Attract online customers 2)Customers should pay your services online, usually through mobile phone 3) Customers must go to your offline store to enjoy the services 4) Customers’ online transaction record and data would be retrieved to be part of your CRM

In China, O2O concept is budding and hot. Nevertheless I feel it is extremely difficult to find perfect example which meet above perfect O2O definition.

In July, Taobao just launched its location based and service oriented O2O experiment integrated within its mobile App, currently just available in two cities, Hangzhou and Xiamen, which is at least an embryonic form of O2O in my eyes.

So let me try to analyze this according to above 4 elements:

1)       Attract online customers:

Needless to say, Taobao, as King of e-commerce in China, the daily visits of its mobile app is over 40 million. A powerful gateway to allure your potential online customers.

2)       Customers pay your services online, usually through mobile phone

Taobao’s Alipay is the most popular and convenient third party online payment for local Chinese. Not only you can pay your shopping cart via Alipay before entering the store, but now it adds a little sizzle, that is after the service, you can scan the QR codes in store then pay the special discount price, again using Alipay.  

3)       Customers must go to your offline store to enjoy the services

I called Taobao Business Line to inquire such service in Xiamen, so now this O2O experiment just accept merchants from food/restaurant industry and help them to install QR codes in their offline store. Later on Taobao will expand to recreation, beauty, or any service oriented sectors.

4)       Customers’ online transaction record and data would be retrieved to be part of your CRM

Again based on my conversation with Taobao staff, the data you would retrieve are quite rudimentary, i.e. visiting time, frequency, transaction amount etc, however not something too fancy as I asked whether it is possible to get consumer profile like age, gender, address…and the answer is “NOT at this stage”.

By Cécilia Wu
English & Chinese Editorial Manager